Friday, August 26, 2011

#27: The Beach of Falesa, Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Beach of Falesa
by Robert Louis Stevenson
-born in Scotland, 1850
-116 Pages
-more about Stevenson (via Goodreads)
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Authorial Tidbits: (via Melville House)

- Robert Louis Stevenson's father was a prominent engineer, famous for building lighthouses, but Stevenson's earliest interests were literary.
- He studied law but never practiced.
- Suffering from lifelong respiratory illness, he traveled extensively in search of a beneficial climate.
- His first book was a travel book about a French canoe trip, but he soon branched out into poetry and fiction.



Synopsis: (via Melville House)
Originally censored by its British publisher, The Beach at Falesa is a scathing critique of colonialism and economic imperialism that bravely takes on many of the 19th Century’s strongest taboos: miscegenation, imperialism, and economic exploitation. It does so with a story that features a surprising and beguiling romance between an adventurous British trader and a young island girl, against a background of increasing—and mysterious—hostility. Are the native islanders plotting against the couple, or is it the other white traders? The result is a denouement that is astonishing in its violence. Told in the unadorned voice of the trader, it is a story that deftly combines the form of the exotic adventure yarn with the moral and psychological questing of great fiction.

My Impressions:
Adventure stories, in general, just aren't my thing.  I crave for deep thought, realization, conversation--that, to me, is adventure.  I like getting down to the heart of the matter: inside people's heads.  This story does expose some very deep issues, it isn't as if there aren't some layers here, but it was just way too much small-island-remote-ocean-confusing-dialect for my taste.  Most of the eye-dialect I couldn't get my brain around, though a lot of the other wording was entertaining (also somewhat baffling--anyone up to translating the bolded portions below?)
...the women of Falesa are a handsome lot to see.  If they have a fault, they are a trifle broad in the beam.
There's meat and drink in it too, and beer and skittles...
The idea of a square thing that was alive and sang knocked me sick and silly.
There's no manner of doubt that she's an A 1 wife. 
 So maybe I won't be re-reading Treasure Island any time soon; I've probably discovered the reason I don't remember much of it.  Come to think of it, I remember remarkably little of Lord of the Flies too...I'm sensing a theme.  I hope the next novella doesn't take place on an island.  They're just too...oceany.

1 comment:

  1. That's true, we do tend to go around and collect opinions in order to make our decisions. I think it's how Tolstoy writes about it that really highlights it.
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